Monday, 15 December 2014
The Bible, being gay, right and wrong
Being gay (LGBT) and christian is a minefield of conflicting views.
Essentially, it all comes down to interpreting the bible. There are six passages in the bible that seem to address the issue and there is a mountain of studies, articles, books and videos that directly address these passages (often referred to as the "clobber" verses, simply because they are used to clobber gay people into submission).
Many of the theological discussions are well researched, thorough and irrefutable. Others are ambiguous, but enough to allow serious questioning. I applaud the scholarly work that has been done in this area, that has tirelessly explored the ancient cultures - their social structures, cultural paradigms, the way they used language including colloquialisms, analogy and metaphor, the influence of other cultures etc, all to bring a clearer exegesis to the scriptures.
These works have been crucial to my own journey out of the unbearable burden that christianity has placed on LGBT people.
But a much larger issue needs to be looked at in light of all this. And its not just for LGBT people - it's an issue that faces every single person who claims to be a christian.
I've written quite a bit over the last year or so about my views on the bible and its role. It's also something that many others are questioning as we look deeper into its history and influence.
The real issue however, is our deep need to have an unambiguous set of rules that clearly define right from wrong, good from bad. A book that says "this is how you live" - that if you don't follow the instructions exactly you'll be in trouble, possibly really big trouble.
We really like to have clearly defined boundaries. It gives us security and allows us to point to something outside ourselves as the source of authority. We love laws! In fact, I wonder if the metaphor in the Garden of Eden myth, is actually about our wanting "the knowledge of good and evil" simply so we don't have to live from a place of love - a place that requires thoughtfulness, empathy and compassion, responsibility, time and energy. The knowledge of good and evil, especially once it's formalised and written down, removes all personal responsibility because its already sorted - look it up in the book - end of story.
But we were never created for that. We were created for and from love, intimate unity with God and each other. The bible itself hints at this so often (in the New Testament at least).
But our obsession for the ultimate rule book is our Achilles heel. We simply cannot agree on what this authoritative book actually says - we never have! Thousands of different groups of christians all arguing about it. We are desperate for love and unity but keep trying to obtain it by deferring to a rigid rule book out of fear. Fear that we could be wrong. Fear from wanting to know good and evil and yet never sure if we have chosen the right thing. Fear of having to take responsibility for our own hearts. Fear of some eternal consequence. Fear of disobeying (knowingly or ignorantly) a God who is just as fearful as he is loving.
We have abdicated our intrinsic humanity. We have refused to live in and from love - outside of the concepts of law, right and wrong, good and evil.
The bible has some wonderful stories, and many object lessons, but it is the most abused and misinterpreted set of documents in history, simply because we have made it something it isn't.
Our first and only priority is to love - even the bible says this, lol!! Love, from beginning to end. That's it.
But what about...!? People need to....! But if we don't have guidelines...! - all excuses for not wanting to live with the personal responsibility of love.
Sure, have faith in Jesus, be christian, but the bible is not your reference book. It's not where you go to find right from wrong. God IN YOU is where we find love that shapes all we are and do. We all know what love is, and we can wrestle with the application of it, but we all know, really we do.
Live loved - go on - try it!